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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Oct 11, 2014

How To Sneak Past That Genealogy Roadblock
by Cindy Carman

Are you stuck on one particular family member in your Genealogical Research? Just can't get past proving their name, relationship or even a date? Here are some suggestions that will help you to sneak past that Genealogical Roadblock.

1. Check what others have to say about that particular ancestor.

Getting a second opinion about the ancestor which is giving you a headache, may just launch you in the right direction or it might reveal a source you have not yet investigated. For instance, recently I have been trying to find the parents of Mabel Keith who married Henry Glick. I looked at pedigrees at Mytrees.com and Ancestry.com. There were several opinions about who her parents were. In fact some were even saying her name was really Mabel Baxter because of the 1900 census and her birth certificate. When I viewed the actual marriage document between Mable Keith and Henry Glick on FamilySearch.org
I found there was a special notation that stated her parents were really Frank Keith and Olive Godfrey and that Seth Baxter was her custodian.

My challenge was that I could not find any more information about Frank and Olive. One of the pedigrees that I reviewed gave Frank's first name as Herman and it also showed an excellent resource, I had not previously found, that indicated that Olive died in 1894. The same year Mabel was born. I then used this information to find Herman and Olive's marriage record on familysearch.org. This same pedigree also indicated that Herman F. Keith was not dead as Mabel had believed but had remarried.

Use caution about instantly accepting the opinion of genealogy research done by another especially if it is unsourced. Verify the information you get with another source if at all possible.

2. Collect data on other relatives or neighbors of your ancestor.

That means that you should find the birth records, marriage records, death records, obituaries, military records, wills, and census entries of other relatives and neighbors of your ancestor. You may think at first that this is a lot of work for little reward, but it will surprise you how many times you will find that a sibling's death record will list their mother's maiden name or an obituary will list the names of the whole family. I have especially found that a widowed mother will often be listed in a census living with one of her other children.

3. Find your ancestor in as many census records as possible.

Census records contain a wealth of information, especially now that we can look at the original image. For instance, depending on what census year you are viewing, you may be able to find the place of birth, month of birth, marriage year, number of children born, occupation, parents birth places, the immigration year, relationship to the head of household, and marital status. If you are viewing a Canadian census, it also may list the religion. It's amazing to me how many times that I have been rewarded with genealogical success for finding my ancestor or their siblings or children in the census. Recently while researching the Swan family in the 1850 census, I found the children listed together in Newton County, Georgia without the parents. The last name Swan had been written incorrectly as Sawn, but I could tell from the children's first names that this was the Swan family. The father was still living in another county. Granted, the census records are not always accurate, so be sure to verify what you have found with another source.

If there are other individuals listed as living in the household with your ancestor, find out what their relationship is to your ancestor. I did this with the Swan Family. Erasmus Swan was listed in the 1880 and 1900 Census with Mary L Glass. In the 1900 census it states that his relationship is "cousin". As I investigated who Mary Glass was, I found that Mary L Glass is the daughter of William Glass and Pamelia Swan who is the daughter of William and Rachel Swan. Therefore since Erasmus is listed as her cousin, Erasmus's father would be a brother to Mary's mother.

4. Search for a family history book written about your family name.

Check the local public library in the town where your ancestor lived. You can often do this from your home through the Internet. Most public libraries are online and some have a list of their holdings online, too. Many also have local newspapers available on microfilm. If you know the death date of your ancestor, and the death is after 1890, ask the library staff if they will do an obituary search. Usually there is a small fee for the search and the copies. There is an excellent article about finding obituaries online printed in a previous Mytrees.com newsletter.

5. Search for a will or probate record in the area where your ancestor died.

I searched for Nathan Adams' will and from it was able to prove Nathan and Ann Adams were Sarah Adam's parents. In the probated will it names their daughter as Sarah Beadles which is her married name. In this case the uniqueness of the last name of Beadles helped to confirm to me that these were indeed Sarah's parents. This brings up a good point. The uniqueness of your ancestor's or their children's first or last name can help you to find them in many records. That is, if a census taker didn't misspell the name. Names that have been misspelled through transcriber error have caused many a roadblock. Overcoming that roadblock is a subject for another article.

By the way, the approach I am describing in this article is sometimes called cluster genealogy. Cluster genealogy is a research method employed to learn more about an ancestor by looking at records left by the extended family, friends, or neighbors of the ancestor.

There have been a number of books written about cluster genealogy. This article just gives you a sample to get you started in your sneak attack around those roadblocks in your genealogical pursuits.

Here are some books and a quicksheet reference sheet written about Cluster Genealogy:

Copyright © 2014 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Oct 11, 2014

How To Sneak Past That Genealogy Roadblock
by Cindy Carman

Are you stuck on one particular family member in your Genealogical Research? Just can't get past proving their name, relationship or even a date? Here are some suggestions that will help you to sneak past that Genealogical Roadblock.

1. Check what others have to say about that particular ancestor.

Getting a second opinion about the ancestor which is giving you a headache, may just launch you in the right direction or it might reveal a source you have not yet investigated. For instance, recently I have been trying to find the parents of Mabel Keith who married Henry Glick. I looked at pedigrees at Mytrees.com and Ancestry.com. There were several opinions about who her parents were. In fact some were even saying her name was really Mabel Baxter because of the 1900 census and her birth certificate. When I viewed the actual marriage document between Mable Keith and Henry Glick on FamilySearch.org
I found there was a special notation that stated her parents were really Frank Keith and Olive Godfrey and that Seth Baxter was her custodian.

My challenge was that I could not find any more information about Frank and Olive. One of the pedigrees that I reviewed gave Frank's first name as Herman and it also showed an excellent resource, I had not previously found, that indicated that Olive died in 1894. The same year Mabel was born. I then used this information to find Herman and Olive's marriage record on familysearch.org. This same pedigree also indicated that Herman F. Keith was not dead as Mabel had believed but had remarried.

Use caution about instantly accepting the opinion of genealogy research done by another especially if it is unsourced. Verify the information you get with another source if at all possible.

2. Collect data on other relatives or neighbors of your ancestor.

That means that you should find the birth records, marriage records, death records, obituaries, military records, wills, and census entries of other relatives and neighbors of your ancestor. You may think at first that this is a lot of work for little reward, but it will surprise you how many times you will find that a sibling's death record will list their mother's maiden name or an obituary will list the names of the whole family. I have especially found that a widowed mother will often be listed in a census living with one of her other children.

3. Find your ancestor in as many census records as possible.

Census records contain a wealth of information, especially now that we can look at the original image. For instance, depending on what census year you are viewing, you may be able to find the place of birth, month of birth, marriage year, number of children born, occupation, parents birth places, the immigration year, relationship to the head of household, and marital status. If you are viewing a Canadian census, it also may list the religion. It's amazing to me how many times that I have been rewarded with genealogical success for finding my ancestor or their siblings or children in the census. Recently while researching the Swan family in the 1850 census, I found the children listed together in Newton County, Georgia without the parents. The last name Swan had been written incorrectly as Sawn, but I could tell from the children's first names that this was the Swan family. The father was still living in another county. Granted, the census records are not always accurate, so be sure to verify what you have found with another source.

If there are other individuals listed as living in the household with your ancestor, find out what their relationship is to your ancestor. I did this with the Swan Family. Erasmus Swan was listed in the 1880 and 1900 Census with Mary L Glass. In the 1900 census it states that his relationship is "cousin". As I investigated who Mary Glass was, I found that Mary L Glass is the daughter of William Glass and Pamelia Swan who is the daughter of William and Rachel Swan. Therefore since Erasmus is listed as her cousin, Erasmus's father would be a brother to Mary's mother.

4. Search for a family history book written about your family name.

Check the local public library in the town where your ancestor lived. You can often do this from your home through the Internet. Most public libraries are online and some have a list of their holdings online, too. Many also have local newspapers available on microfilm. If you know the death date of your ancestor, and the death is after 1890, ask the library staff if they will do an obituary search. Usually there is a small fee for the search and the copies. There is an excellent article about finding obituaries online printed in a previous Mytrees.com newsletter.

5. Search for a will or probate record in the area where your ancestor died.

I searched for Nathan Adams' will and from it was able to prove Nathan and Ann Adams were Sarah Adam's parents. In the probated will it names their daughter as Sarah Beadles which is her married name. In this case the uniqueness of the last name of Beadles helped to confirm to me that these were indeed Sarah's parents. This brings up a good point. The uniqueness of your ancestor's or their children's first or last name can help you to find them in many records. That is, if a census taker didn't misspell the name. Names that have been misspelled through transcriber error have caused many a roadblock. Overcoming that roadblock is a subject for another article.

By the way, the approach I am describing in this article is sometimes called cluster genealogy. Cluster genealogy is a research method employed to learn more about an ancestor by looking at records left by the extended family, friends, or neighbors of the ancestor.

There have been a number of books written about cluster genealogy. This article just gives you a sample to get you started in your sneak attack around those roadblocks in your genealogical pursuits.

Here are some books and a quicksheet reference sheet written about Cluster Genealogy:

Copyright © 2014 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Oct 11, 2014

How To Sneak Past That Genealogy Roadblock
by Cindy Carman

Are you stuck on one particular family member in your Genealogical Research? Just can't get past proving their name, relationship or even a date? Here are some suggestions that will help you to sneak past that Genealogical Roadblock.

1. Check what others have to say about that particular ancestor.

Getting a second opinion about the ancestor which is giving you a headache, may just launch you in the right direction or it might reveal a source you have not yet investigated. For instance, recently I have been trying to find the parents of Mabel Keith who married Henry Glick. I looked at pedigrees at Mytrees.com and Ancestry.com. There were several opinions about who her parents were. In fact some were even saying her name was really Mabel Baxter because of the 1900 census and her birth certificate. When I viewed the actual marriage document between Mable Keith and Henry Glick on FamilySearch.org
I found there was a special notation that stated her parents were really Frank Keith and Olive Godfrey and that Seth Baxter was her custodian.

My challenge was that I could not find any more information about Frank and Olive. One of the pedigrees that I reviewed gave Frank's first name as Herman and it also showed an excellent resource, I had not previously found, that indicated that Olive died in 1894. The same year Mabel was born. I then used this information to find Herman and Olive's marriage record on familysearch.org. This same pedigree also indicated that Herman F. Keith was not dead as Mabel had believed but had remarried.

Use caution about instantly accepting the opinion of genealogy research done by another especially if it is unsourced. Verify the information you get with another source if at all possible.

2. Collect data on other relatives or neighbors of your ancestor.

That means that you should find the birth records, marriage records, death records, obituaries, military records, wills, and census entries of other relatives and neighbors of your ancestor. You may think at first that this is a lot of work for little reward, but it will surprise you how many times you will find that a sibling's death record will list their mother's maiden name or an obituary will list the names of the whole family. I have especially found that a widowed mother will often be listed in a census living with one of her other children.

3. Find your ancestor in as many census records as possible.

Census records contain a wealth of information, especially now that we can look at the original image. For instance, depending on what census year you are viewing, you may be able to find the place of birth, month of birth, marriage year, number of children born, occupation, parents birth places, the immigration year, relationship to the head of household, and marital status. If you are viewing a Canadian census, it also may list the religion. It's amazing to me how many times that I have been rewarded with genealogical success for finding my ancestor or their siblings or children in the census. Recently while researching the Swan family in the 1850 census, I found the children listed together in Newton County, Georgia without the parents. The last name Swan had been written incorrectly as Sawn, but I could tell from the children's first names that this was the Swan family. The father was still living in another county. Granted, the census records are not always accurate, so be sure to verify what you have found with another source.

If there are other individuals listed as living in the household with your ancestor, find out what their relationship is to your ancestor. I did this with the Swan Family. Erasmus Swan was listed in the 1880 and 1900 Census with Mary L Glass. In the 1900 census it states that his relationship is "cousin". As I investigated who Mary Glass was, I found that Mary L Glass is the daughter of William Glass and Pamelia Swan who is the daughter of William and Rachel Swan. Therefore since Erasmus is listed as her cousin, Erasmus's father would be a brother to Mary's mother.

4. Search for a family history book written about your family name.

Check the local public library in the town where your ancestor lived. You can often do this from your home through the Internet. Most public libraries are online and some have a list of their holdings online, too. Many also have local newspapers available on microfilm. If you know the death date of your ancestor, and the death is after 1890, ask the library staff if they will do an obituary search. Usually there is a small fee for the search and the copies. There is an excellent article about finding obituaries online printed in a previous Mytrees.com newsletter.

5. Search for a will or probate record in the area where your ancestor died.

I searched for Nathan Adams' will and from it was able to prove Nathan and Ann Adams were Sarah Adam's parents. In the probated will it names their daughter as Sarah Beadles which is her married name. In this case the uniqueness of the last name of Beadles helped to confirm to me that these were indeed Sarah's parents. This brings up a good point. The uniqueness of your ancestor's or their children's first or last name can help you to find them in many records. That is, if a census taker didn't misspell the name. Names that have been misspelled through transcriber error have caused many a roadblock. Overcoming that roadblock is a subject for another article.

By the way, the approach I am describing in this article is sometimes called cluster genealogy. Cluster genealogy is a research method employed to learn more about an ancestor by looking at records left by the extended family, friends, or neighbors of the ancestor.

There have been a number of books written about cluster genealogy. This article just gives you a sample to get you started in your sneak attack around those roadblocks in your genealogical pursuits.

Here are some books and a quicksheet reference sheet written about Cluster Genealogy:

Copyright © 2014 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

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